One of the talking points meant to “humanize” newly appointed veep candidate and Mitt Romney second banana Paul Ryan is that he got a six pack blowing $120 bucks and countless hours going hard thanks to the popular exercise DVD series P90X.
In my brief time in D.C., particularly around 2011 after the GOP took the House, I started hearing quite a bit about Congress Critters and their ilk going hard using P90X. Soon a rash of nerdy, GOP (and some Dem) Butterfaces with washboard abs started humping about the Capitol, getting too flirtatiously aggressive while I was politely trying to get drunk on the rooftop of the W Hotel.
“It all started with Heath Shuler and Paul Ryan,” said Horton. “They’d go into the congressional gym, and they were doing P90X while everybody else was sitting on the elliptical or treadmill or working with a trainer. … For most folks, all you need is a pull-up bar and a floor and a couple of dumbbells or bands. … There’s so much pressure in this town, so it’s a form of release other than a couple of cocktails at lunch.”
Horton wouldn’t weigh in on which political client is the most in shape, but he gave some hints.
“I gotta say, Sen. [John] Thune is tough. Aaron Schock is strong. Paul Ryan is another one. Kevin McCarthy, he’s not ripped necessarily, but he works really hard. … He looks good in a suit, and he feels better.”
But Horton’s most proud about his DVDs being in use at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“I’m fairly sure that Mrs. Obama uses P90X periodically,” said Horton. “I was speaking with Capricia Marshall. She’s the chief of protocol at the White House, so she gave me a little inside scoop. And the president, I believe, owns P90X Plus. I don’t know if he’s using it. I hope so. Mr. President, I hope that you would get on board with your wife and use P90X.”
Like Crossfit and other “hardcore” work out styles, P90X focuses on helping you lose weight by very rarely ever allowing you to stand still and constantly changing up what you’re doing until your muscles hate you. You do all this while getting all wrapped up inpossibly fascist, cult-like dogma to make you feel like you’re part of something “bigger” than just doing a hundred squats a hundred different ways until your thighs give out on you.
Among the better known political devotees were the aforementioned Rep. Ryan, Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), Sen. John Thune (R-ND), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill), who managed to get a Men’s Health Magazine cover shot out of it. But also wandering around among the newly ripped was future “Craigslist Congressman” Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) and disgraced cyber-sexer Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).
Obvious sex fiends Reps. Lee and Weiner ended up resigning their ripped bodies from the body politick after so many photos of their abs lead to them sending these photos to women who were not their wives.
But there’s also other oddness. Both Thune and Schuler were residents/members of the quasi religious political group “The Family” best known for their famous sex scandal laden, “Frat House for Jesus,” C Street house where many former members – including John Ensign, Mark Sanford, and Chip Pickering – found themselves mired in scandals revolving around their wandering penises.
Aaron Schock, who hasn’t had much of a fuss about him other than the time he wore a teal belt and everyone snickered, was the focus of several blog posts on Gawker that all seemed to scream “IS OR IS NOT AARON SCHOCK GAY?!?!” with a healthy mix of snark and mockery.
As someone who has recently embraced fitness out of a mix of “afraid of dying in sleep from cupcakes,” “self-defense,” “career-advancement” and “want to look good naked,” I can say that if you do any kind of work out that combines weight lift and cardio, with a sensible protein and vegetable heavy diet that’s low on carbs and sugar, will eventually result in weight loss and muscle tone – especially if you stick to it, drink lots of water and “go hard.” So if P90X is what keeps you from becoming a Diabetes-laden statistic, more power to you, but it has always been interesting to me that some of our most ab-tastic Congressional P90X devotees have either been tossed out of Congress due to sex scandals after getting physically jacked, while others deal with sexual rumors and murmurs that pop up in the blogosphere that have so far remained out of the mainstream.
D.C. is a fairly fit city. I came there in 2009 expecting to see more former Sen. Fred Thompson’s sipping Mint Juleps next to Wilford Brimley, fretting about their “diabeetus,” than the bevy of cyclists, joggersand P90Xers scurrying about all day and night. If you weren’t concerned about your waistline before the Age of "Athletic Thin President and His Wife Who Has Two Tickets To the Gun Show" Obama, quite suddenly you were. It wasn’t good enough to be the woman next to the man, next to the man, next to Obama. Now you had to be all that and bench press your weight too.
But being good looking – even from the neck down – comes with a certain amount of responsibility. Like realizing that you can change your clothes, hair and body but you are still you. All your drives, fears and insecurities are still there, but have shifted into a new “HOT” phase with all the obnoxiousness that goes with it.
Congress Critters already had no problem getting their power fueled-freak on when they all looked like Wilford Brimley. Can you imagine how annoying they are now that they have "allegedly" hot bodies to go with their “Man next to the man” power obsession?
It's all the obnoxiousness of the Los Angeles' Professional Pretty People crowd, but with the faces of Mark Zuckerberg. As if dating in D.C. wasn’t bad enough.